Please close your eyes and picture in your mind the soldier at Valley Forge, as he holds his musket in his bloody hands. He stands barefoot in the snow, starved from lack of food; wounded from months of battle and emotionally scarred from the eternity away from his family. He is surrounded by nothing but death and the carnage of war.
He stands tough, with fire in his eyes and victory on his breath. He looks at us in anger and disgust and tells this… I gave you my birthright of freedom born in the Constitution and now your children graduate too illiterate to read it. I fought in the snow barefoot to give you freedom to vote, and you stay at home because it rains. I left my family destitute to give you freedom of speech, and you remain silent on critical issues, because it might be bad for business. You ‘badmouth’ the country because you are irritated by something the politicians do.
I orphaned my children to give you a government to serve you and you threatened to steal democracy from the people. It’s the soldier, not the reporter that gives you freedom of the press. It’s the soldier, not the poet that gives you freedom of speech. It’s the soldier, not the campus organizer, who allows you to demonstrate. It’s the soldier who salutes the flag, serves the flag, whose coffin is draped with the flag that allows the protester to burn the flag. Shame! Shame!
“Lord, hold our troupes in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts of heroism they perform for us daily in our time of need. Press close to them the hope of just coming home safe.”
In reading these words, so ably penned in a church bulletin, I thought just how tough it is to be born in FREEDOM. It would be so much easier to have a King or Monarch, with full unlimited powers to just tell us all how to live. Life would go boringly on each day under the heavy heeled boot of a Hitler, or seeing the terrible face of an all powerful Stalin. Such government (?) promises safe passage from the cradle to the grave. It offers the minimum, a small flat to live in, cheap transportation to go in, and a 5 cent loaf of bread to chew on. All the rules would be posted and all the laws would be mandatory. Just keep your ‘nose clean’, never smile in public, nor greet one another joyfully. Get up in the morning, keep a pan face and just do your job. This way, no one will suspect you of any sin against the state and maybe soon you can have two loaves of bread.
Each day would be the same. The State would be your god, and personal freedom to own anything, much less real estate would be banned, for the state owns it all. Large walls will be built to be sure that none escape the privilege of living without freedom. Guards will be posted; free to shoot on sight those who try to climb the walls or slide through rolls of barbed wire fences. A deep moat is dug so that those who do escape the prime barriers can be shot at will as they struggle to swim to find FREEDOM, an undying urge that is born within each heart.
Freedom is not free. The slogan is simple. “You may differ but you can’t divide”. There would be no divorces if this rule was followed. Freedom is responsibility. There is no other definition that correctly displays the real meaning of being free. The apostle Paul writes, “Christ has set us free. This means we are really free… My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want, Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love” (Galatians 5:1,13) (CEV version).
You want to protest – PROTEST, but don’t damn the country that gives you the freedom to protest. You differ from the present administration? No problem. Just don’t move in a march and fly your banners that dirty their character and damn their motives and assassinate their integrity. Try trading places with members of Congress for a week. Carry the burden they shoulder and the heavy decisions they face. Sit in the President’s chair for a day, and weep silently and alone under the decisions you face. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE – IT IS RESPONSIBILITY and those who deny their personal obligations only lead us back into the slavery of the past.
As Americans, we all cherish the Bills of Rights, but tell me, as an American, who has the right to spit upon our flag or burn it while chanting “we want freedom! “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed of one another” (Galatians 5:15).
The apostle Paul was writing at a time when he was living under a bloody despot, Nero, the Caesar who had become the Roman god. Paul flew no banner but Christ. He led no protest march or coined no dirty names for the Roman Forum. The apostle Paul could have well said, “Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage. Minds innocent and free take that for a hermitage.” (Lovelace). Ah, freedom, what a wonderful word. “Give me liberty (freedom) or give me death”. Those seven words are much easier to say than to live.